After a bout with sciatica, IBF bantamweight champion Joseph "King Kong" Agbeko (28-2, 22 KOs) is ready to tangle with WBC Silver Bantanweight champ Abner Mares (21-0-1, 13 KOs) in Showtime's Bantamweight Tournament on Saturday at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
The fight was originally scheduled for April 23, but Agbeko was forced to withdraw after experiencing severe back pains. Agbeko was extremely grateful to Showtime for its patience.
“I would like to thank Showtime for the new date which is Aug. 13 due to my injury," said Agbeko. "I thank my promoters too at Don King Productions for waiting for me to heal and to get ready for this fight. I’m so looking forward to this fight and thanks to God for it is finally coming off and I’m ready for it."
That may sound like typical athlete speak, but in boxing, late injuries or tragic events can sometimes kill cards. Just ask Andre Berto. The earthquake in Haiti forced him to withdraw from a fight against Shane Mosley. That bout was never rescheduled. Kelly Pavlik pulled out of a fight with Paul Williams due to a hand injury. That fight was never rescheduled.
Mares also seemed anxious to finally step into the ring and feared that he might not get a chance at Agbeko.
"At the moment I heard that the fight might be cancelled and that there might be another opponent I was happy, but I was not mentally happy," said Mares. "I was getting ready for a world title fight and whoever stepped in it would not be for a world title."